Birding a la Minute

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

Cooking will be taking a rest while we go nuts birding. We went cooking crazy last Wednesday with an ambitious dinner of six courses that took us days to organize. Our previous post gave you a glimpse into that culinary feat of strength but now its migration. This past weekend we had temps in the 60’s and 70’s after a long winter. The birds are arriving. The first birdwalk commenced at our local wildlife sanctuary. I didn’t make it out because my knee was giving me trouble but Curt went forth and saw an ovenbird, a green heron, a black-crowned night heron, an eastern towhee and a rusty blackbird. I was jealous but I’m saving my knee for our big trip next week.

Today after I got home from doing errands Curt said, “Fifteen Willets and two Eared Grebes were spotted at the 29 ponds, let’s go!” Off we went. The 29 ponds is a big man-made pond out on highway 29. It used to be just a couple of low areas in a big field that filled with water from the spring rains. Birders flocked out there as interesting birds stopped off as they migrated through. Now the local owner has dug out a pond, landscaped the area and hopes to sell home lots around the perimeter. But he also put in a road so access to the pond area is much better than it used to be. The notice we got about the willets and grebes came through on the American Birding Association list for Wisconsin.

We got the Willets who looked much better through my binoculars than they did through my camera. These guys have blue legs and are about the size of big chickens.

Two Willets

Two Willets

However the Eared Grebes swam close enough for this shot. The female is on the left, the male on the right. Look at those amazing red eyes. They don’t look real. If the sun was shining these birds would be really showing off their bright plumage. Definitely click on the picture to get a good look.

Eared Grebes

Eared Grebes

Our quick ride was well worth it. And that guy at the top of the page? A nice bonus, a Northern Shoveler. We’ve seen them before but this one posed for pictures.

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